Bird poisoning in Wanstead

Jonathan Lethbridge, a faithful Wanstead birdwatcher and blogger, was among those who discovered a spate of dead birds this week at Alexandra Lake on Wanstead flats. The authorities are now investigating, especially after an Alsation dog died too. Jonathan wrote;

It is a deliberate case of bird-poisoning, and the eight Crows I found were just the start. They have been falling out of the trees almost constantly since Tuesday. I don’t have the exact figures yet, but so far the deaths include over 100 Crows, many Canada Geese, Coots, and particularly Moorhens, 2 Greylags, and some Pigeons.

The Wanstead Guardian is reporting that post mortems are being carried out on the bodies, and that staff from Natural England are testing the lake. The City of London corporation – which owns the lake – told the paper:

“There have been unexplained bird deaths on and around Alexandra Lake and we have also received details of the death of a dog that was taken for a walk in the area of the Lake on 8th March. The area has been cordoned off and warning signs have been erected.”

Wanstead news roundup, 5.03.10; The Larder, the bookies and more on Susan Boyle’s cat

The Larder has been ranked by the Independent as the 12th best coffee shop in the country.

A licensed café and very tempting deli, the owners of the World’s Larder work with small, artisan producers for everything from their delicious coffee to their daily bread (delivered each morning from French bakery Boulangerie Jade). Alan calls it a ‘great little star in the east and brilliant all-rounder’.

(Well spotted, I Heart Wanstead.)
Meanwhile bookies Jenningsbet, which became the High Street’s third bookmakers when it opened in the former Woolwich Building Society office, has ceased trading at Wanstead.
A sign on the shutters refers customers to its branches elsewhere. Jenningsbet was the subject of a Wanstead Society campaign when it opened with an illuminated sign; planning permission was later refused for it. One tweeter believes it’s going to become a cafe.

Much to-ing and fro-ing in Labour party circles has resulted in former MP and union official John Cryer being selected as the candidate to follow Harry Cohen as Leyton and Wanstead MP. TV historian Tristram Hunt was one of the losing hopefuls.

And Wanstead’s most notorious feline resident, Pebbles, better known as Susan Boyle’s cat, seems to be on her way west. The Sun has reported that SuBo is leaving Lothian to buy a flat in Chelsea, meaning cat and owner can be reunited.

What the Wanstead Co-op will look like

The Co-op, currently an increasingly tatty-looking Somerfield, has applied to put new signs on its shop. The question of what kinds of signs Wanstead shops have is a vexed one, especially for the Wanstead Society, which ran a competition last year to encourage a “smarter High Street”.

Artists' impression of how Wanstead Co-op will look, part of the planning application, © futurama.ltd.uk

The Co-op’s designs are available to view on the Redbridge-i website
, and though much larger and (literally) greener than the existing Somerfield signs, will not be illuminated plastic boxes – they will be lit with spotlights. This may be cheering news to those who thought the High Street was in a spiral of aesthetic decline.
The council is inviting comments on the application now.

Spelling set-up

Good line here in a Wanstead Guardian story about someone being up to mischief on Wikipedia, writing that “South Woodford is notable for its lack of good looking women… [h]owever, the average beauty of women is on a level par with men, as Piers Pereira brings down the average for men significantly”.

The paper has tracked Pereira down, and his reaction is a worthy one:

Mr Pereira, 26, of Elmhurst Drive in South Woodford, said: “It was one of my mates who set me up – his name’s Sean Preston – and I know it’s him because he’s the only one of my friends who can spell.

(The now sanitised Wikipedia entry is here.)

Wanstead News roundup, 21-02-2010: Celeb historian, Subo’s cat, powercuts…

Passengers were stuck for two hours in a Central Line train outside Liverpool St on Wednesday. The Evening Standard reported that the driver couldn’t even contact control to inform them the train was stuck.

A power cut in Wanstead on Monday left High St shops, doctors’, dentists and a nursery without power for seven hours. Shopkeepers want compensation, but EDF says they don’t qualify, Wanstead Guardian says.

The story that Susan Boyle’s cat is now living in Wanstead became an internet meme, spawning links and reports on Twitter and beyond.

The Labour party has published its shortlist for candidates for the Leyton and Wanstead constituency. On it, according to the Labour Home website, are

John Cryer, former MP for Hornchurch who lost his seat in 2005 and is now political officer for union Unite
Tristram Hunt, historian and broadcaster
Sophie Linden, a Hackney councillor and former special advisor to David Blunkett
Terry Paul, chairman of the West Ham Labour party.
Roxanne Riaz
Ahmed Shazad, Chair of BAME Labour

Four architects firms have plans for converting the United Reformed Church halls on Grosvenor Road, after they were bought by the owners of Woodbine Place’s Treehouse Nursery. They plan to use it as an after-school club.

The first person to apply for an ID card from the government was Peter Fawcett, 21, of Wanstead. He said: “If you’ve got nothing to hide you’ve got nothing to worry about.”

Plans have been published for the empty row of shops opposite Snaresbrook Tube (see them here on Redbridge council site). They are to be knocked down and turned into flats.

What the new flats would look like